In both Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time typical themes of haunting are present. Beloved is the baby ghost of Sethe’s child who she murdered. Beloved represents a harsh past and life of slavery. The ghost, before appearing in a physical form would wreak havoc, throwing chairs as a spirit. Early in the novel she is manifested in a red pool of light. While Beloved is a masterpiece of American fiction and Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece of Japanese video games, I noticed some similarities in the manifestations of ghosts and the role the play in fiction.
Ocarina of Time follows the story of Link, a young boy who is guided by his fairy, Navi. He is sent on a quest and is guided by his spirit to Princess Zelda, of the kingdom of Hyrule. An evil man named Ganondorf steals the triforce, a spiritual symbol of peace and unity in Hyrule. Link is frozen in time in the Chamber of Sages and wakes up to Hyrule in shambles. After Ganondorf took the throne, the harmonious kingdom is falling a part and the five temples are destroyed and possessed. It becomes Link’s job to restore the temples and bring the kingdom back from the darkness.
When Link is in the forest temple, he encounters the ghosts of four sisters who had been haunting the hallways of the temple. Their names are Joelle, Beth, Amy, and Meg Poe. When Link is walking down stairs to reach the mini boss, the Poe sisters appear by haunting portraits of them as mortals, taking shelter in their natural form. Link must kill the Poe sisters and erase their attachment to the past in order to restore the peace of the temple. When they are killed they burst in the flame of the light that they spread through the dungeon.
Beloved represents this same attachment to the past. Beloved’s appearance as a baby ghost is similar to the Poe sister’s familial connection. It gives the ghosts a creepy innocence and contrasts the evil notion of dark spirits with a sweet quality. There are similarities in how the ghosts appear and the trope of a ghostly light. In this short overview of the Poe Sisters in Ocarina of Time, (http://www.giantbomb.com/poe-sisters/3015-7561/ ) the nerdy gameplay reflections walk a quester through this supernatural encounter in the fire temple. The Poe sisters and Beloved both represents unhappy souls who are angry in the physical world appear in almost all ghost stories. The Poe sisters must be put to death to appease their souls and Beloved had to be forced out after the community banded together.
While Beloved has a much deeper meaning, we see similar themes and recurring patterns in ghost stories spanning cultures and forms of media. Perhaps it’s the role of the supernatural throughout all cultures and something that unifies us in our ideas of the supernatural world or it’s stories building on themselves. This is what makes stories in cultures interesting whether it’s Nintendo or Toni Morrison.